The first death penalty murder case in Iowa since 1963 opens this week. The trial of 35-year-old Dustin Honken opens today in Sioux City. The former Britt resident is accused in the 1993 drug-related slayings of five people in Mason City. Jury selection starts tomorrow and could take up to three weeks in a trial that may last three months. It’s Iowa’s first death penalty case in more than 40 years. Honken is currently serving a 27-year sentence in federal prison for a 1997 conviction on methamphetamine conspiracy. Honken is facing federal charges which could carry the death penalty. Capital punishment is not available in a state court, as Iowa lawmakers abolished the death penalty in state cases four decades ago.
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